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Saturday, May 25, 2019

SYMA Growth Interviews ~ we march on to our 12th year


SYMA has an unsaturated desire for serving the Society. SYMA [Srinivas Youngmen’s Association]  has been in the field of Social service since 1977.  Education is the most important thing in life – it will give Worldly pleasures  and give pleasure to the world too; it will not diminish by giving; it will spread the fame of those possessing it; cannot be destroyed… there is no better medicine  than Education that can cure all ills.   At SYMA, we realize that  Education can refine a person and ensure one’s success in life.   We at SYMA, feel strongly the primary responsibility  of improving the Society and helping the underprivileged. 

6th July 2008 was indeed a very auspicious day ~ for on that day Mr. R Sekar, IPS, Commissioner of Police launched our Tuition Centre ‘Growth’  and a right beginning was made.  Every year since, we have been tasting grand success with very good results.   SYMA Growth – a fullfledged tuition centre, is our  cherished initiative in educating the economically poor children, uplifting their standards and making them responsible citizens, by providing quality educational support throughout the year free.    In this beautiful World, most students are frightened to face the Public examinations.  SYMA’s vision is  to provide good quality education training free of cost  for those students who suffer for want of opportunities. 

A few decades ago, things were far  were far different when we joined, studied and left … not these long queues, ordeal of admission, it was mostly of simple application filling and getting in – but when a seat is gotten with great difficulty, how many parents would visit the school, know the teacher of their son/daughter, ever interact with them. ….  Those days, the teacher was a learned, highly respected man – commanding wishes when he (or she) walked on the roads – and do you remember your favourite teacher ??   ~ how were you admitted in to school and as a parent what is your experience attending an interview for admission of your child ??  ~ every year,  we get more applicants for our free tuition centre – SYMA Growth .. .. in mid 1970s, my parents had some difficulty in enrolling my elder sister in to 3rd standard of N. Samarao School at Singarachari St. .. .. an innocuous statement by the school authorities, that enrolling in 1st Standard (no L.Kg / U.Kg at that time) – made by parents took the child playing at home and  put me into school – even they had not planned and had taken simply because there was none to take care ! ~ and thus began my education career .. ..  ‘Abhyium & Nanum’ movie was interesting – it revolved around Raghuraman and his home in Ooty. The way he narrates the story of his daughter Abhi's enrollment in school and his endless preparations for the 'parents' interview, not to mention his wife Anu's own treatment, was hilarious.

A couple of years back, The Hindu had an article on a techie taking half a day’s leave from work to collect the LKG admission form for his 4-year-old daughter from a famous Chennai convent.  He realised he had arrived late – he was there at 6 a.m. — only to find out that many other parents, also seeking LKG admission for their children, had parked themselves at the school much earlier. To avoid the rush, the school had put up notices outside asking parents to not wait as plenty of forms available, but this did not help. While some came in the morning, a large number had begun queuing up since the previous night.  This year for the 30 odd seats in each section of SYMA tuition centre, we issued around 45 applications for Commerce group & X English medium i.e., ensured issuance of application for all those who stood in the queue at the appointed hour – then in due process, giving weightage for host of factors that include parental income, parental education, disabilities, if any; single parent !; children brought-up by grandparents, type of school, locality and more – we gave marks to each applicant and based on that was the selection process of students  – we had set our eyes on random no. generation even !!!

I have been posting about our full-time tuition centre SYMA Growth providing quality tuition free to under-privileged children.  SYMA Growth students hand-picked from lower strata of society did so well last year too.  In  +2 it was  ‘all pass’ – making us proud.  [15 of them in Science group and 28 in Commerce group]   Our Student Ms Varsha was the topper in Science with 545 out of 600.  4 of them got above 400; 9 students are in the bracket 300-400.  In the Commerce group, the topper is Pugazhenthi 506/600.  6 got more than 400 and 12 above 300.  In X Standard too, our students  performed well.   In English medium out of 24 / 23 have passed (the other one is being checked) – our Growth topper is Ms Harini with 427/500 & Ms Jeevitha secured 418/500. o   In Tamil medium, (which perhaps represents the poorest of poor in the society) – of 13 students – 12  have passed.  The topper is Ms Afrin Banu with 318/500.

The success of SYMA Growth in uplifting the students from lower echelons of society is fully because of the untiring efforts of teachers of SYMA Growth.    SYMA places on record our profound thanks  to the Management of NK Thirumalachariyar National Boys High School, Mr S. Venkatadri, HM, NKT Boys High School, our beloved teachers of SYMA Growth.  Special appreciations are due to M/s Manpower Group India and Mr PV Venkatesan – for their support in fully-funding this project for the academic year 2019-20 too.

Every year we conduct a personal interview for the students and their parents. For X standard it was conducted on 23.5.2019 and today (25.5.2019) it was for +2.  Primarily, to students,  we emphasise the need for being disciplined, coming to classes punctually and concentrate on studies.  To parents, this is to emphasise the value of this tuition centre, not to get carried by the notion of ‘free tuitions’ –realise the quality, the need for having  a vision for their children, follow-up with teachers and our coordinator on the way their ward attend tuition and the way they shape up. There is certain need for regular interaction and regular follow-up and we make them understand how parents have a role in shaping the career and in ensuring a right environ for their children to study.

11 years have fleeted past; SYMA office-bearers carry on with same zest and zeal in providing quality education to poor free and in assisting them reach higher echelons of society – only education can do that and SYMA Growth is the best platform as evidenced by the results thus far.  During the personal interaction with the parents, I was pleasantly surprised and really felt happy in hearing that a student of our Growth has since joined BDS [Dental medicine] through NEET and is studying well.  When the mother praised us for the role in shaping the role of her daughter and raising their value in society, we felt overwhelmed.

WE pray to our Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman, the presiding deity of Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam to keep showering his munificence and show us the path, give us the strength to work untiringly for the goals of SYMA ~ which is social service to the society without thinking of any recompense.

Here are some photos of the interview of X standard students of SYMA Growth.  SYMA rededicates itself to the cause and have initiated the beginnings for 12th year @ SYMA Growth – the Academic year 2019-20.  This year too - @ Growth, we have 4 Sections – X Std Tamil; X Std English; +2 Commerce & +2 Science.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25.5.2019










Thursday, May 23, 2019

Lok Sabha 2019 results ~ fir ek baar Modiji Sarkar


BJP’s big victory is the main headline everywhere globally too. BJP made handsome gains in West Bengal and has managed to thwart the threats from BSP-SP Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh. The saffron wave not only swept through the Hindi heartland and Gujarat, but also rippled through West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Only Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh appeared untouched. Even in Telangana, the BJP was ahead in four seats, the same as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.  ‘ it is Modiji Sarkar’ again !! 
                                 
Repeating its near improbable feat of landslide victory in North and West India with a vote share of nearly 50 per cent, the NDA has taken a massive lead over the Congress-led UPA. The alliance has crossed the majority mark of 272 and is moving towards 350 seats mark out of the total 542 Lok Sabha seats.  Riding on a massive saffron surge sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP-led NDA government looks set to become the only non-Congress government to return to power in the Indian political history. After Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Narendra Modiji is also the third prime minister of India who has been able to retain power for a second term with full majority in Lok Sabha.

The Indian Lok Sabha, is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of the adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is 552, which is made up by election of upto 530 members to represent the States, upto 20 members to represent the Union Territories and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian Community to be nominated by the Hon'ble President, if,  in his/her opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House. The total elective membership is distributed among the States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.

In the first ever General Elections held to Lok Sabha, the composition was – Congress 398; Independents 36;  Communist Party 17; Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party 10; Hindu Mahasabha 4; Tamilnadu Toiler’s party 4 ~ among others …

In Lok Sabha 2019 results announced now, Prime Minister Narendra Modiji  recorded a spectacular victory in Varanasi, clocking a margin of 4,75,754 votes.  Modi polled a total of 6,69,602 votes while his nearest rival, Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party (SP), got 1,93,848. Ajay Rai of the Congress got 1,51,800 votes.  In 2014, Modiji  won from Varanasi by a margin of 3.37 lakh votes.  Varanasi has been celebrating the Prime Minister's victory since the morning with songs, dance and sweets.
Modiji at Mukthinath (Salagrammam divyadesam)

The other camp is glum .. .. Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress party, congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening for his spectacular re-election and asked him to "take care of the interests of the country"; the 48-year-old also conceded defeat in Amethi to BJP leader Smriti Irani – handing over the constituency that has been with his family for four decades. Mr Gandhi has reportedly offered to resign as President of the Congress, though the party is unlikely to accept.

It would be surprising if the results of India’s national elections, declared today (May 23), surprised Rahul Gandhi.  Gandhi debuted in electoral politics in 2004, contesting the general elections that year from the Gandhi family pocket borough of Amethi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The seat was earlier held by his father, and though the party has almost vanished from the state, Amethi, along with Rae Bareli, has remained unbreached as his family’s parliamentary bastions. Yet,  this is not the first major defeat that the scion of the Indian National Congress’s first family has suffered since his entry into the Indian political scene. The only difference is that his party had hit the rock bottom in the last parliamentary elections in 2014, from where it could only go in one direction: up.

Rahul however won Wayanad.  In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, M I Shanavas of INC won in this seat by defeating the CPI candidate by a margin of 20,870 votes which was 2.28% of the total votes polled in the constituency. INC had a vote share of 41.21% in 2014 in the seat. In a huge setback to the Congress, veteran party leader Mallikarjun Karge was defeated by BJP's Umesh Jadhav in Gulbarga by a margin of 95,452 votes.  Popularly known as "solillada Saradara", (a leader without defeat), this was the first electoral loss in Kharge's political life spanning several decades. While Jadhav secured 6,20,192 votes, Kharge got 5,24,740 votes, according to the Election Commission.

Terming the Lok Sabha poll results as unprecedented, BSP president Mayawati again raised doubts over EVMs on May 23 and indicated that her alliance with the SP and the RLD will continue. "We had not contemplated that the alliance will fare so badly. People are not able to digest the poll results. It is against their sentiment and aspirations," she said. Pointing fingers towards electronic voting machines (EVMs), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo said, "Several shortcomings of conducting elections through EVMs have come to our notice and there is opposition to EVMs all over the country." She added that after this results, whatever confidence people had in EVMs will disappear.

To end with some KQ -      Shri G.V. Mavalankar was the first Speaker of Lok Sabha (15 May 1952- 27 February 1956) while the first Deputy Speaker of Loksabha 1952 was  Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar.

So it is Modiji sarkar again !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd May 2019.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

UK Chaos !! littleport riots - this day – 203 years ago !


Everybody claims to love peace, yet there are so many disturbances in the civil society ~ often there are theories that chaos, riots are doctored – sometimes by the rulers and many a times by the opposition to ensure defeat of the other ideology – how bad these schemers are – they try to gain making others life miserable .. .. … ……

In Aug 2011, there were riots - a series of riots spreading to almost a week,  when thousands of people rioted in cities and towns across England, saw looting, arson, and mass deployment of police, and resulted in the deaths of five people.Protests started in Tottenham, London, following the death of Mark Duggan, a local man who was shot dead by police on 4 August. Several violent clashes with police ensued, along with the destruction of police vehicles, a double-decker bus and many homes and businesses, thus rapidly gaining attention from the media. The following days saw similar scenes in other parts of London, with the worst rioting taking place in Hackney, Brixton, Walthamstow, Peckham, Enfield, Battersea, Croydon, Ealing, Barking, Woolwich, Lewisham and East Ham.

Back home in India, in Mar 1908 -  V. O. Chidambaram Pillai and Subramania Siva were arrested in Tuticorin – crime, delivering inflammatory speeches against the Govt and the British foisted sedition case against them.  A riot broke-out demanding their release – called ‘Tinnevely riot’ –a direct response  to the arrest and subsequent conviction of Indian nationalists Subramania Siva and V. O. Chidambaram Pillai.  Public buildings except the town office were attacked and furniture destroyed though there was no loss to life. Twenty-seven persons were convicted for participation in the riot. .. .. British clamped many restrictions and supressed any uprising with iron hands (boots) – yet there were some in the land, who adored the British, stating that coming from land of disciplined people, they would not tolerate chaos .. .. and that was their ‘brand intolerance’ ~ history would reveal that United Kingdom has not been a land of paradise !

The Swing Riots were a widespread uprising in 1830 by agricultural workers in southern and eastern England, in protest of agricultural mechanisation and other harsh conditions. It began with their destruction of threshing machines in the Elham Valley area of East Kent in the summer of 1830, and by early December had spread throughout the whole of southern England and East Anglia.

There were widespread agitations against Corn Laws too. The Corn Laws were tariffs and other trade restrictions on imported food and grain ("corn") enforced in Great Britain between 1815 and 1846. The word "corn" in the English spoken in Nineteenth Century Britain denoted all cereal grains, such as wheat and barley. They were designed to keep grain prices high to favour domestic producers, and represented British mercantilism. The Corn Laws imposed steep import duties, making it too expensive to import grain from abroad, even when food supplies were short.The Corn Laws enhanced the profits and political power associated with land ownership. The laws raised food prices and the costs of living for the British public.

In that so called peaceful land, riots broke out on this day – 203 years ago !  - know as Ely and Littleport riots of 1816, occurred between 22 and 24 May 1816 in Littleport, Cambridgeshire. The riots were caused by high unemployment and rising grain costs, much like the general unrest which spread throughout England following the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1815, the government increased taxation on imported wheat and grain to help pay for the costs of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). Poor laws, such as the Speenhamland system, were designed to help alleviate financial distress of the poorer communities, but such systems helped to keep wages artificially low as the farmers knew labourers' wages would be supplemented by the system. Basic commodities, like cereals and bread, became heavily over-priced, creating widespread social unrest. The worst hit were the families of the men returning from the Battle of Waterloo (1815) who arrived home at a time when unemployment was already high. One reply to a questionnaire circulated by the Board of Agriculture in February, March, and April 1816 reported that "the state of the labouring poor is very deplorable, and arises entirely from the want of employment, which they are willing to seek, but the farmer cannot afford to furnish."   The cost of wheat and bread were raising astronomically.

The Littleport riot broke out when a group of residents met at The Globe Inn. Fuelled by alcohol, they left the inn and began intimidating wealthier Littleport residents, demanding money and destroying property. The riot spread to Ely where magistrates attempted to calm the protests by ordering poor relief and fixing a minimum wage. The following day, encouraged by Lord Liverpool's government, a militia of the citizens of Ely, led by Sir Henry Bate Dudley and backed by the 1st The Royal Dragoons, rounded up the rioters. In the ensuing altercation at The George and Dragon in Littleport, a trooper was injured, one rioter was killed, and at least one went on the run.

Littleport is a large village in Cambridgeshire with a population in 1811 of 1,847. On 22 May 1816, a group of 56 residents fuelled by alcohol, directed their anger at local farmer Henry Martin. He had been overseer of the poor in 1814 and was not well liked by the parishioners.  The rioters began at Mingey's shop, where stones were thrown through the windows, and then they invaded Mr Clarke's property and threw his belongings into the street. The rioters  visited the premises of disabled 90-year-old Mr Sindall, throwing his furniture into the street; his housekeeper, Mrs Hutt, was intimidated by a rioter wielding a butcher's cleaver… after many looting,  the rioters arrived at the house of the Reverend John Vachell, who, after threatening to shoot anyone who entered his house, was disarmed when three men rushed him.

Edward Christian, Chief Justice of the Isle of Ely was entitled to try the rioters alone. The government, in this case via the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, nevertheless appointed a Special Commission, consisting of Justice Abbott and Justice Burrough. The rioters were tried in the assizes at Ely during the week commencing June 1816. 23 men and one woman were condemned, of which five were subsequently hanged. General unrest and riots such as that at Littleport may have been a factor in the government passing the Vagrancy Act of 1824 and subsequently the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.

The Judge sentencing and punishing people observed that - It is of the highest importance to the peace and safety, not only of this isle, but of the surrounding country, that all who are present on this solemn inquiry, and all who read the account of its proceedings (and there are few parts of the kingdom in which it will not be read) may be convinced by the awful lesson which may here be taught, that whatever wild or chimerical notions may prevail of the power of an armed multitude, the law is too strong for its assailants; and that, however triumphant or destructive their sway for a few days, those who defy the law, will ultimately be compelled to submit either to its justice or its mercy.

Some of the convicts were transported and sailed   on the convict ship Sir William Bensley, which departed for New South Wales in Oct 1816.  At least 5 were executed after conviction of diverse robberies during the riots at Ely &Littleport. .. including them there were total of 83 persons executed in 1816 charged with riots.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd May 2019.

redefining the kilogramme !!


How much do you buy ~ and how is that quantified ? – in Kilogrammes ??



One is bound to ask – ‘what’s in a name ?’ ~ a rose by anyother name would smell as sweet !  .. .. before you proceed further – have you heard of ‘Saint-cloud’ ?-  it is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is known to be one of the wealthiest towns in France. The town is named after Clodoald, grandson of Clovis, who is supposed to have sought refuge in a hamlet on the Seine near Paris, then named Novigentum .. .. wonder what its relevance here !!

Do you love travel by train ? - ~ Railways, the Nationalised Career has a statue and does carries animals too .. .. the Railways responsibility as a carrier is as per Indian Railways Act 1989.  For loss or damage to goods carried as cargo – Railways is responsible – however, where the value of the cargo is not declared to carrier and  %age charge is not paid; the monetary liability of the railway has been limited to a measly Rs.50/- per kilogramme. 

The kilogram or kilogramme (symbol: kg) is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units (SI). Since 20 May 2019, it has undergone a quantum change is the subject matter of this post ! The kilogram is a unit of mass, a property corresponding to the common perception of how "heavy" an object is. Mass is an inertial property; that is, it is related to the tendency of an object at rest to remain at rest, or if in motion to remain in motion at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.While the weight of an object is dependent on the strength of the local gravitational field, the mass of an object is independent of gravity, as mass is a measure of the quantity of matter. Because at any given point on Earth the weight of an object is proportional to its mass, the mass of an object in kilograms is usually measured by comparing its weight to the weight of a standard mass, whose mass is known in kilograms, using a device called a weighing scale. The ratio of the force of gravity on the two objects, measured by the scale, is equal to the ratio of their masses.

The gram, 1/1000 of a kilogram, was provisionally defined in 1795 as the mass of one cubic centimetre of water at the melting point of ice. The final kilogram, manufactured as a prototype in 1799 and from which the International Prototype Kilogram (IPK) was derived in 1875, had a mass equal to the mass of 1 dm3 of water under atmospheric pressure and at the temperature of its maximum density, which is approximately 4 °C.The kilogram is the only named SI unit with an SI prefix (kilo) as part of its name. Until the 2019 redefinition of SI base units, it was also the last SI unit that was still directly defined by an artefact rather than a fundamental physical property that could be independently reproduced in different laboratories. The IPK is rarely used or handled. Copies of the IPK kept by national metrology laboratories around the world were compared with the IPK in 1889, 1948, and 1989 to provide traceability of measurements of mass anywhere in the world back to the IPK.

With the definition of the ‘kilogram’ getting a global, technical makeover, textbooks — from those used in schools to ones recommended by engineering colleges in India — are set to undergo an update.Until Monday [20.5.2019], the kilogram derived its provenance from the weight of a block of a platinum-iridium alloy housed at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France. All other prototypes that served as national reference standards, including the one at New Delhi’s CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL), were calibrated to it. No longer.On May 20, the kilogram joined other standard units of measure such as the second, metre, ampere, Kelvin, mole and candela that would no longer be defined by physical objects.

The measures are all now defined on the basis of unchanging universal, physics constants. The kilogram now hinges on the definition of the Planck Constant, a constant of nature that relates to how matter releases energy.The kilogram isn't a thing anymore. Instead, it's an abstract idea about light and energy.As of today (after May 20), physicists have replaced the old kilogram — a 130-year-old, platinum-iridium cylinder weighing 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) sitting in a room in France —— with an abstract, unchanging measurement based on quadrillions of light particles and Planck's constant (a fundamental feature of our universe).

In one sense, this is a grand (and surprisingly difficult) achievement. The kilogram is fixed forever now. It can't change over time as the cylinder loses an atom here or an atom there. That means humans could communicate this unit of mass, in terms of raw science, to space aliens. The kilogram is now a simple truth, an idea that can be carried anywhere in the universe without bothering to bring a cylinder with you.And still...so what? Practically speaking, the new kilogram weighs, to within a few parts per billion, exactly as much as the old kilogram did. If you weighed 93 kilograms (204 pounds) yesterday, you'll weigh 93 kilograms today and tomorrow. Only in a few narrow scientific applications will the new definition make any difference.

That cylinder in France would weigh much less if you brought it to the moon, and even a tiny bit more or tiny bit less if you brought it to other parts of the Earth. Not that reference any longer !It's not the easiest thing to stick on a scale. But, as an idea, it's a lot more portable than a cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy.What was 1 kg earlier is still 1 kg today.  If you had weighed 80 kgs a week before, you would not otherwise weight less or more than that.  You would be buying the same amount of brinjals @ 1 kg or 1 kg or rice.  All that has changed is the definition, for the sake of accuracy. A  mass measured as 1 kg earlier would have meant 1 kg, plus or minus 15-20 micrograms. Using the new definition, a mass measured as 1 kg will mean “1 kg, plus or minus 1 or 2 nanograms”.

For commoners like us, life has not changed at all – so we would continue to buy or measure anything with the same kilogram though there appears a quantum change in its definition.

Interesting or irrelevant or unable to make anything out of this !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st May 2o19.

Gomathi Marimuthu tests positive ! ~ doping in Sports !!


In the field of athletics, more specifically, sprint race – Usain Bolt is an emperor.  Bolt improved upon his second 100 m world record of 9.69 with 9.58 seconds in 2009 – the biggest improvement since the start of electronic timing. He twice broke  the 200 metres world record, setting 19.30 in 2008 and 19.19 in 2009. His achievements as a sprinter have earned him the media nickname "Lightning Bolt".  In case you still remember 2008 Olympic Games, held at Beijing in Aug, 2008 – where a total of 10,942 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competed in 28 sports and 302 events.  Not many of us may remember or know that Nesta Carter was (yes, WAS) a Gold medallist.  Nesta Carter, a Jamaican sprinter, was successful as part of the Jamaican 4 x 100 metres relay team, taking gold and setting successive world records at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 London Olympics.   Almost a decade later, the International Olympic Committee sanctioned Carter for doping at the 2008 Olympic Games, meaning that Carter lost gold medal for the Men's 4x100m Relay ~ and that resulted in a medal less for Usain Bolt too .. ..

Doping in Sports in nothing new ~ perhaps in earlier era, tests were not as severe ad perhaps some got away with it ..the sporting World that had always admired Lance Armstrong for his resilience, was shocked to hear the doping allegations.  When Seoul Olympics was on air live in 1988, the heart throb was Ben Johnson, born in Jamaica but running for Canada – one of the firsts to break the 10 sec barrier.  

My favourite writer Sujatha wrote a novel in Kumudam titled ’10 second mutham’ – a story of an Indian female athlete who is trained to break the barrier of 10 seconds and her emotional relationship with the coach formed the nucleus of that story.  

It was indeed thrilling watch to watch Ben Johson finish with 9.79 seconds. Actually closer to the finish, he turned his neck to see where his competitors were and started celebrating with a hallmark rise of fingers. He was praised so much and the race would remain etched in one’s memory. It is another matter that he was snatched of the Gold in a few days due to his testing positive for the prohibited drug. From the start he dominated reportedly hitting a max speed of 30 mph (48/3 kmph) and completed the lap in 48 strides.The same Olympics also showcased - Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner (1959-1998), considered the fastest woman of all time.  Known as "Flo-Jo", Griffith Joyner was the big favourite for the titles in the sprint events at the 1988 Summer Olympics.  Though records keep tumbling down, for women her record of 10.49 seconds remains. 

Photoed here is : Gina Lückenkemper, German track and field athlete who won gold in the 200 metres at the 2015 European Junior Championships. She took part in the 100 metres at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.

Gomathi Marimuthu had been the biggest surprise for India with her 800m gold at the recent Asian athletics championships in Doha, and immediately back home, some were trying to portray as if she had been neglected, she had no money to buy running shoes even (suggesting that her shoes had different colours, which was more of a fashion statement) and burying the fact that she had been employed in Govt dept as a sports recruit .. ..   now she is in big doping trouble.

The Tamil Nadu athlete has failed a dope test for a banned steroid at last month’s Doha Asians and now faces a four-year ban. It is another news that She had tested positive in the Federation Cup held more than a month before that !“I don’t know what really happened, I will surely be asking for my ‘B’ sample to be tested,” Gomathi reportedly informed the media  from New Delhi on Tuesday evening. “I was supposed to fly to Spala (Poland) today.”

Impressed by her time in the two-lapper, the Athletics Federation of India had planned to train her for the 4x400m relays too. Gomathi was supposed to leave from Delhi for Spala on Tuesday with a bunch of athletes for training and competition but the federation has now stopped her from going. Gomathi’s struggles in life had been one of the best stories to emerge from the Doha Asians. She has been in the form of her life, first winning the gold at the Federation Cup in 2:03.21 and then improving it to a personal best 2:02.70s in Doha for her maiden Asian title.That gold brought her an automatic berth for this September’s World championships in Doha.

But Gomathi, who was not a national camper, would not even have made it to Doha if the results of the dope tests taken during the Federation Cup held in Patiala from March 15 to 18 had come on time.She tested positive in both (Federation Cup and Asians),” confirmed Adille Sumariwalla, the AFI president. He added - “We have zero tolerance to doping. As far as we are concerned, she is immediately suspended provisionally. She has the right to get her ‘B’ sample tested. If she is innocent and her ‘B’ sample is okay, we take her back, otherwise, straight away she is suspended for four years.”

India could now lose one of the three golds it had won at the Doha Asians  and that does not augur well for the Sports in the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd May 2019.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

remembering that gruesome assassination of 1991


On this day in 1939,  the National War Memorial (titled The Response)  a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designed by Vernon March and first dedicated by King George VI in 1939 was opened. Originally built to commemorate the Canadians who died in the First World War, it was in 1982 rededicated to also include those killed in the Second World War and Korean War and again in 2014 to add the dead from the Second Boer War and War in Afghanistan, as well as all Canadians killed in all conflicts past and future. It now serves as the pre-eminent war memorial     ~ 21st May is remembered by Indians for different reasons though !

August 15, 1991. It was a pleasant morning in Konanakunte, people did not know that the day would change their lives .. .. can you connect it with this day 28 years ago !  Just as we await results of Lok Sabha elections, 1991 too was an election year – held in 2 phases – each had a different impact.  Maragatham Chandrasekar was to win by a margin of 180572 and the man lost his life campaigning for her this day.   

Visitors to Chennai would not miss the landmark as they come out Central Railway station – the imposing  Government General Hospital, visited by more than 12000 outpatients everyday.   This premier institution dates back to 1664, started  as a small Hospital to treat the sick soldiers of the East India Company. It was the untiring inspired efforts of Sir Edward Winter who was the agent of the company that materialised in the first British Hospital at Madras. In its early days the Hospital was housed at the Fort St. George and in the next 25 years grew into a formal medical facility. Governor Sir. Elihy Yale was instrumental in the development of the Hospital and gave it a new premises with in the Fort in 1690.  In 1842 the Hospital opened its doors to Indians.     In the 19th century, medical college got annexed to it and in 2011, the hospital was renamed after Rajiv Gandhi, sadly because his body was brought here after his assassination in May 1991.

This place (Sriperumpudur) is famous for being the birthplace of our greatest Acharyar – Sri Ramanujar ~ life has changed a lot in the past couple of decades after that fatefulday…..  one may not ardently believe in ‘fate or destiny’…….in the prelude to General elections, there were far too varied predictions …… the National Front was still nursing some hopes, there was a wave predicting return of Rajiv Gandhi.  In that melee, was this person, who had retired from active politics  – not any ordinary person for sure~ a man who had been the CM too…. in 1984 in the aftermath of assassination of Indira Gandhi saw routing of all political parties.  Bharatiya Janata Party could win only 2 seats. One in Mehsana and the other was in South ~ the Hanamkonda constituency where M. Chandupatla Janga Reddy of BJP defeated his nearest Congress rival by 54198 votes.  The man who lost so at a time when Congress swept to power was 70 by the 1991 elections, could not get a ticket and had chosen to retire to peace…….. destiny thought otherwise….. he became the PM in 1991 – Sri PV Narasimha Rao.

The night of 21st  May 1991 changed it all ~ on a campaign trail, he arrived from Vizag, garlanded Nehru at Kathipara, even the Press chose not to travel along for that meeting at Sriperumpudur – and rest is bloody history – the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.  About two hours after arriving in Madras), Rajiv Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a white Ambassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues. When he reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he got out of his car and began to walk towards the dais where he would deliver a speech. Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Congress party workers and school children. The assassin, Dhanu, approached and greeted him. She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress at exactly 10:10 PM.  Rajiv, his assassin and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed, along with 43 others who were grievously injured. .. .. a very sad day as the Nation lost its ex-Prime Minister assassinated in his own land and a host of innocent Tamilians who had gathered too died in that blast.

Beeroota, a tiny village near picturesque Muthathi on the banks of the Cauvery,  came to news as it was here  LTTE cadres including Sivarasan hid themselves  after the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. The village also played a prominent role in the gunning down of Sivarasan (the ‘one-eyed-jack’ mastermind behind the assassination); Dhanu alias Anbu; and others, in Bengaluru’s Konanakunte in Aug 15,  1991. With just three houses and some huts, nearly three decades ago, Beeroota was one of the most backward villages in the State when the LTTE arrived.

Nation sadly remembers and pays tribute to Rajiv Gandhi

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st May 2019.

Monday, May 20, 2019

secret video leads to downfall in Austria !


A total of 543 constituencies, seven phases spanned over a month, millions of voters — India's battle for the ballot has reached its final stage on Sunday. All eyes are set on May 23 when the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 will be declared.   ~  and before that, there are numerous exit polls predicting them results.   These are  post-voting polls, conducted just after a voter walks out after casting his or her vote.   The basic step to predict exit polls is sampling ~ and do not ask whether a small sample will give a skewed prediction or real one ?  .. ..

After nearly two months of high-pitch campaigning and seven phase of hectic poll schedule, most exit polls have predicated a clear majority to BJP-led NDA with many more than  300 seats, out of total 542 Lok Sabha seats. Polls are also predicting a clean sweep by NDA in several key states including Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.  Most have concluded that North India is giving Narendra Modiji  and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a sweeping mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The South, according to the exit poll, has slowed the saffron sweep.  Quite obvious – Kerala, Tamil Nadu may throw different results. 

In 654 BC, Phoenician settlers founded a port on Ibiza. With the decline of Phoenicia after the Assyrian invasions, Ibiza came under the control of Carthage, also a former Phoenician colony. The island produced dye, salt, fish sauce (garum), and wool. A shrine with offerings to the goddess Tanit was established in the cave at Es Cuieram, and the rest of the Balearic Islands entered Eivissa's commercial orbit after 400 BC. Ibiza was a major trading post along the Mediterranean routes. 
        
                      Ibiza, now in news and becoming most searched one on web -  is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the city of Valencia. Ibiza has become well known for its association with nightlife, electronic dance music, and for the summer club scene, all of which attract large numbers of tourists drawn to that type of holiday. Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – you are reading about it because of ‘Ibiza affair’ !

Austria is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. It is bordered by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps.  The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century. Austria was involved in both world wars; it started the first one under Emperor Franz Joseph and served as the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, who provoked the second one. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of government.

The Ibiza affair is a  political scandal in Austria involving Heinz-Christian Strache, the Vice-Chancellor of Austria and leader of the Freedom Party (FPÖ); Johann Gudenus, a deputy leader of the Freedom Party; and both the Austrian Freedom Party and political landscape in general.  The scandal was triggered on 17 May 2019 by the publication of the content of a secretly recorded video of a July 2017 meeting in Ibiza, Spain, which appears to show the then opposition politicians Strache and Gudenus discussing their party's underhanded practices and intentions.  In the video, both politicians appeared receptive to proposals by a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch, discussing providing the FPÖ positive news coverage in return for business contracts. Strache and Gudenus also hinted at corrupt political practices involving other wealthy donors to the FPÖ in Europe and elsewhere. The video also revealed the party's authoritarian intents to suppress the freedom of the press in Austria and replacing it with a compliant media, with a view to turning the country's largest-circulation tabloid, Kronen Zeitung, into a mouthpiece of the FPÖ.  The scandal has now  caused the collapse of the Austrian governing coalition and the announcement of the early election.

Five people took part in the videotaped meeting, according to the German news outlets, which had examined the tapes but had not released the full recordings. Those persons included Heinz-Christian Strache; a woman who said she was the niece of a Russian oligarch; an interpreter (the woman's company); another Freedom Party official, Johann Gudenus, who appears to have set up the meeting; and Gudenus’s wife, Tajana. The persons spoke in English, German, and Russian.  During the conversation in the footage, Strache said he had contacts with Israelis who opposed left-wing politics in Israel, and that he had been invited to China to promote business between Austria and China. Strache also said that Hans Peter Haselsteiner, a major shareholder of the construction company Strabag, would no longer receive commissions by government.

The highly professional setup of the apparent trap, the amount of time and money expended on preparing and realising it, made Germany's Die Welt wonder who might have been behind this operation meant to create what the newspaper referred to as Kompromat (incriminating material to be used at the right moment to undermine one's enemy), which had been held back for two years and made public days before the 2019 European Parliament election.  This has led to the resignation on 18.5.19 by   Heinz-Christian Strache  as Vice-Chancellor of Austria and Chairman of the Freedom Party at a press conference. He stated that he offered Chancellor Sebastian Kurz his resignation from the office of Vice-Chancellor at 11 o'clock that day, shortly before attending the press conference – Kurz accepted his withdrawal and will advise President Alexander Van der Bellen to formally dismiss him. At the press conference, Strache portrayed the recording of the video as an illegal and immoral act by the press and announced that he would take any legal action possible against the organizers, recorders and publishers of the video. However, he later admitted and recognized his wrongdoing.  Shortly after Strache's announced resignation, Johann Gudenus followed up and officially announced his withdrawal from all political posts as well.

We have seen this in cinemas and now a video has turned the applecart of politicians and changed the political atmosphere in Austria

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th May 2019.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Battle of Gallipoli ~ a century ago ! - disaster for Allies - visit by Aussie team


Is distance a factor now ! ~ and how was that a century ago !!

On 27 Oct 1914, two former German warships, the Ottoman Yavûz Sultân Selîm and Midilli, still under the command of German officers, conducted the Black Sea Raid, in which they bombarded the Russian port of Odessa and sank several ships.  On 31 October, the Ottomans entered the war and began the Caucasus Campaign against Russia. The British briefly bombarded forts in Gallipoli, invaded Mesopotamia and studied the possibility of forcing the Dardanelles. The Ottoman Empire, literally "The Exalted Ottoman State"; historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries.  One might wonder what is the relevance to the Cricket World Cup 2019.

Australian fast bowler, Jhye Richardson, was withdrawn from Australia’s World Cup Squad as he continues to recover from the shoulder dislocation he suffered in the UAE in March. After a recent scan and testing with the team’s medical staff, it was determined that Jhye was not going to be ready to bowl at the level required for him to be considered for selection at the start of the World Cup.     Australia's squad of : Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa have traversed 15000 odd kilo meters from Australia to England for the cup .. .. and they had a stopover at a historical place is the subject matter of this post.

Donning casual get-up including baseball caps and compression pants rather than the regular team uniform, Australia's 15-man squad plus support staff retraced the footsteps of their countrymen from more than a century ago. It was a rare extended sojourn from professional routine, and a fair logistical feat given the proximity to their June 1 World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Bristol. Their visit is the first by an Australian cricket team since Steve Waugh's side made the trip ahead of the 2001 Ashes. Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa laid a wreath at the Lone Pine Memorial, with its yellow and peach flowers.. ..

The Gallipoli Campaign,  the Battle of Gallipoli was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey). The Entente powers, Britain, France and the Russian Empire, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, one of the Central Powers, by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia. The invaders launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul). The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn. It was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Allies and for the sponsors, especially Winston Churchill.

The campaign was a great Ottoman victory. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the state, a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire retreated.  The campaign is often considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness; 25 April, the anniversary of the landings, is known as ANZAC Day, the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in the two countries, surpassing Remembrance Day (Armistice Day).

After the failure of the naval attacks, troops were assembled to eliminate the Ottoman mobile artillery, which was preventing the Allied minesweepers from clearing the way for the larger vessels. Kitchener appointed General Sir Ian Hamilton to command the 78,000 men of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.  Soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and New Zealand Expeditionary Force(NZEF) were encamped in Egypt, undergoing training prior to being sent to France.  The Australian and New Zealand troops were formed into the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), commanded by Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood, comprising the volunteer 1st Australian Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division.  The  troops, were subsequently placed under Hamilton's command. Over the following month, Hamilton prepared his plan and the British and French divisions joined the Australians in Egypt. Hamilton chose to concentrate on the southern part of the Gallipoli peninsula at Cape Helles and Seddülbahir, where an unopposed landing was expected. The Allies sadly had  discounted the fighting ability of the Ottoman soldiers. The underestimation of Ottoman military potential stemmed from a "sense of superiority" among the Allies, because of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and its poor performance in Libya in 1911 and the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913.

The Allied fleet and British and French troops assembled at Mudros, ready for the landings but poor weather from 19 March grounded Allied aircraft for nine days and on 24 days only a partial programme of reconnaissance flights were possible. Allocated the northern landing, Birdwood's force   was to land and advance inland to cut the lines of communication to the Ottoman forces in the south.  The troops would disembark from the transports into ships' boats and be towed close to the shore by steamboats and then row ashore.  The landing was more difficult, over ground which rose steeply from the beaches, unlike the objective to the south, which was more open. The landing site was garrisoned by only two Ottoman companies but from positions on commanding ground the Ottomans inflicted numerous casualties on the Australians before being overcome.  It was a disaster - ANZAC casualties on the first day numbered around 2,000 men killed or wounded. Casualty figures for the campaign vary between sources but in 2001, Edward J. Erickson wrote that in the Gallipoli Campaign over 100,000 men were killed, including 56,000–68,000 Ottoman and around 53,000 British and French soldiers. Using the Ottoman Archives, Erickson estimated that Ottoman casualties in the Gallipoli Campaign were 56,643 men died from all causes, 97,007 troops were wounded or injured and 11,178 men went missing or were captured.  

Australians and New Zealanders coming from tens of thousands of miles away suffered worst casualties mainly due to poor strategy and lack of knowledge of the conditions.

Anzac Day  is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".  Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War(1914–1918).  This is the place now visited by Australian Cricket team

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th May 2019.